There has been a lot of talk lately about the amount of out-of-state plates we have been seeing on cars lately. It really is no surprise given that one of Montana's biggest industries is tourism, and we are in peak tourist season. But, the amount of people visiting the state is concerning considering the possibility of asymptomatic tourist spreading COVID 19. There are even rumors of a real estate boom, with many out of state families buying homes "sight un-seen" in an effort to escape the pandemic. The reason being is probably that we are one of the most unpopulated and largest states in the country. No problem social distancing here, when we have an average of 7 people per square mile.

Business Insider recently crunched the numbers to find out the best places to live after the pandemic in the west region of the US. They used 9 economic factors to decide what places were best suited for living in a post-pandemic world.

According to Business Insider

The nine factors we used are the pre-coronavirus unemployment rate, ability to work from home, population density, housing affordability, monthly housing costs, cost of living, average travel time to work, total elementary- and secondary-school spending per student, and share of residents age 25 and over who have at least a bachelor's degree. 

17 cities stood out above all else. 3 of which are right here in Montana.

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#16 Billings

According to BI

This city is great for people who don't want to live too close to others. It has the 11th-lowest population density of all US metro areas at 28.0 people per square mile. The pre-coronavirus unemployment rate of 3.2 was only slightly lower than the national rate in February.

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

#10 Great Falls

According to BI

Great Falls has the 12th-lowest population density of metro areas in the West region of the US at 30.2 people per square mile. The metro area also has the 10th-lowest average housing cost of metro areas in this region, around $849 a month.

Photo: Getty Images

#7 Missoula

According to BI

Missoula's pre-coronavirus unemployment rate of 3.2% was slightly below the national average in February. The cost of living in this metro area is also 5.0% lower than the national average. 

Find out what other nearby cities in both Idaho and Wyoming made the list of "17 best cities in the Western US to live in after the pandemic"